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Greek communists make noise

8/28/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Just hours before U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell was to arrive in Athens on an official visit, Greece's
communist party early Saturday displayed a large banner at the site
of the ancient Acropolis protesting his trip.

"Powell killer go home. Don't forget that civilians are being
slaughtered in Najaf and a wall is being built in Palestine," read
the banner, which was raised on one of the sides of the Parthenon
that sits atop Acropolis Hill.

"This is a symbolic protest to oppose Powell's visit here
during the Olympic Games," Antonis Skylakos, a Communist Party
member of parliament, told The Associated Press. "We believe that
we express the majority of the Greek people in opposition to Powell
for crimes committed in Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere in the
world."

The party was gearing up for a protest of Powell's visit with a
rally that was to begin in front of the old campus of Athens
University in central Athens and end at the U.S. Embassy.

Powell planned to meet with Premier Costas Caramanlis and attend
the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics on Sunday night.

On Friday, riot police used tear gas to disperse about 1,500
anti-globalization demonstrators from reaching the U.S. Embassy to
protest Powell's visit.

Police rushed to the Acropolis on Saturday as a handful of party
supporters guarded the banner and passed leaflets in English to
tourists visiting the ancient site. Police did not intervene to
take the banner down.

"We will ask that the banner stays up for as long as Powell is
here," Skylakos said.